In memoriam of the Father of GIS, Geospatial World Forum is proud to host Dr. Roger Tomlinson Memorial Lecture, this year to be delivered by Prof. David Maguire, Vice-Chancellor, University of Greenwich, United Kingdom.

Instituted by
Geospatial Media & Communications
Prof. David Maguire

University of Greenwich
United Kingdom


GIS: Retrospect and Prospect

GIS has come a long way since Roger Tomlinson coined the term in the early 1960s when working on the Canada Land Inventory. Although the technology has changed remarkably, and there are now massive volumes of data and wonderful policies, procedures, models and applications, the underlying principles are reassuringly consistent.

This paper will review some of the early developments in GIS and Roger’s legacy using changes in the way topology is used as an exemplar. It will look at the how our interpretation of G, I and S have evolved and what they mean today. New developments in GI Systems and Science illustrate where we have come from and where we are going. The impact of new developments, such as the Fourth Industrial Revolution, show how GIS can continue to develop and assert its relevance to wider society.

I argue that GIS prospects have never been better: tech companies are rapidly developing new platforms, there are unprecedented data volumes, new geo-enabled models and methods are emerging, there is rich functionality in software systems, geography is part of consumer applications and the business case for GIS is clear.